NFL’s David Morgan hopes for another shot, but longterm health is vital

NFL tight end David Morgan is a free agent

Marble Falls High School graduate and professional football player David Morgan is now a free agent after the Minnesota Vikings released him in March. The Vikings drafted Morgan as a tight end in 2016 after he completed his collegiate career at the University of Texas-San Antonio. Photo courtesy of the Vikings

After Minnesota Vikings tight end David Morgan spent 2019 on the sidelines recovering from a knee injury suffered the season before, the team released him in March.

The Vikings picked the 2011 Marble Falls High School graduate in the sixth round of the 2016 draft.

Now, as a free agent, Morgan has an important NFL offseason ahead of him. He is still rehabbing the knee he injured in November 2018.

“It’s one that has to heal on its own,” he said of the injury. “It takes a lot of rehab and love and care.”

Currently, Morgan is examining his options and hoping for a chance at another team, but he’s not going to gamble his longterm health if his knee isn’t healed.

“If I’m healthy and feel that I can compete at that level,” he said about continuing his NFL career. “The process has been good with the surgery and the rehab.”

The tight end has been back in Marble Falls for the past several weeks. Recently, Morgan competed in the Twitch Rivals: SuperGames video game tournament for charity. His team finished fifth out of 20 teams, and he donated his $13,750 in winnings to the Highland Lakes Crisis Network.

Morgan knows there’s more to life than football. He learned a valuable lesson about letting his body heal from injury rather than rushing back to the field.

In 2018, the Vikings were in playoff contention, and Morgan played through his injury.

“I thought I could really sway the meter in our favor,” he said. “I gave the team my all when I wasn’t fully healthy.”

As a result, he spent all of 2019 in Minnesota undergoing surgery and rehab. He began the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, which basically tells the league a player’s team believes he’ll be healthy enough to compete by Week 7. If the player is still on the PUP list at that time, he has another chance by Week 11. Morgan was never able to get off the list, which put him on the Injured Reserve list.

“You’re on the (PUP) list because you haven’t passed a physical,” he said, “so you’re unable to do team activities.”

All Morgan could do was study the playbook and films. He also used the time to mentor the younger tight ends, much like starter Kyle Rudolph did for him when Morgan joined the Vikings.

Though Morgan hungers for a chance to play in the NFL, he isn’t going to rush it and risk further injury.

“It’s easy for me to say I want to be fully healthy because I’ve seen what happens when it’s not: lasting effects that are more difficult to overcome. I want to be smart about it,” Morgan said. “I want to be able to compete at a high level. If I go, I’m not putting myself in danger, and I don’t want to put anyone else at risk. I have to protect myself, my team, and my quarterback.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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